Sunday, October 21, 2012

"Is there a word for Twenty First Century?"

It all began when a trivial question popped into my head: is there a word in the English dictionary for 'twenty first century'? I looked around. Found no single word that summed up the meaning elegantly. There were no equivalent words for twentieth, nineteenth or any other century. I wondered why.

Then I discovered that man has always made up words only when there's a real need for conjuring up something. In the Roman times, AUC or Ab urbe condita (Latin for 'from the founding of the city') was invented for keeping track of time. As the power of Rome declined, AD or Anno Domini was mooted as the new dating system. Ever since, we've unquestioningly embraced the template that divides history into Before and After the advent of Christ. We refer to every hundred years as a century. A thousand years as a millennium. And left it at that.

If one follows this logic, the years 2301 to 2400 will be called the Twenty Fourth Century or the fourth century in the third millennium. Things look fine so far?

Now let's complicate things a bit. What will we call the years between 12401 to 12500? By our current convention, it should be Twelve Thousand Four Hundred and First Century. Seven words to describe just hundred years! If that sounded inelegant, imagine how many words we'll need to describe the period 112401 to 112500? Clearly our system of measuring time wasn't built to handle such complexities.

At some point in time in the future, someone will come along and scrap the system. And replace it with a more efficient one. Why wait till then? Why not start the debate right now?

To set the ball rolling, I've created a new dating system  by minting neologisms. Here are the key features of the system:

1) Human Time will be measure in cycles of Ten Thousand Years.
2) Every Ten Thousand Year cycle will comprise Hundred Centuries.
3) Each century will be denoted by one neologism.
4) The new word should capture the essence of the century without being too verbose.
5) To achieve economy of word length, one has to invent a new suffix to connote 'century'.
6) Centum is the Latin word for 'hundred'. The suffix of centum is '-tum'. So this could be our suffix.
7) The century suffix can be really handy as it can reduce 'First Century' to 'Firstum'.
8) The tabulation below will demonstrate how we can invent neologisms to cue each century using '-tum'.
9) None of the neologisms are abstruse. They've been derived by contracting current terminology.
10) When we finish the cycle of Ten Thousand Years, we will start a new dating system called ATN.
11) AT in ATN stands for After Ten Thousand Years. And N is a numeral from 1 to whatever.
12) So AD Eleven Thousand And Four Hundredth Century will be AT1 Fortum. And AD Forty Five Thousand and Seven Hundredth Century can be shrunk to AT4 Fiftysevtum!
13) The neologisms might seem complicated when seen for the first time. As you get familiar with the system, you'll realise that it can solve many potential problems in the distant future.

14) If you can better this new system, feel free to do so.


Existing Years Neologism
First Century 1-100 Firstum
Second Century 101-200 Sectum
Third Century 201-300 Thirtum
Fourth Century 301-400 Fortum
Fifth Century 401-500 Fiftum
Sixth Century 501-600 Sixtum
Seventh Century 601-700 Sevtum
Eighth Century 701-800 Eitum
Ninth Century 801-900 Nintum
Tenth Century 901-1000 Tentum
Eleventh Century 1001-1100 Eleventum
Twelfth Century 1101-1200 Tweltum
Thirteenth Century 1201-1300 Thirteentum
Fourteenth Century 1301-1400 Fourteentum
Fiftheenth Century 1401-1500 Fifteentum
Sixteenth Century 1501-1600 Sixteentum
Seventeenth Century 1601-1700 Seventeentum
Eighteenth Century 1701-1800 Eighteentum
Nineteenth Century 1801-1900 Nineteentum
Twentieth Century 1901-2000 Twentytum
Twenty First Century 2001-2100 Twenfirstum
Twenty Second Century 2101-2200 Twensectum
Twenty Third Century 2201-2300 Twenthirtum
Twenty Fourth Century 2301-2400 Twenfourtum
Twenty Fifth Century 2401-2500 Twenfiftum
Twenty Sixth Century 2501-2600 Twensixtum
Twenty Seventh Century 2601-2700 Twensevtum
Twenty Eighth Century 2701-2800 Tweneitum
Twenty Ninth Century 2801-2900 Twenintum
Thirtieth Century 2901-3000 Thirtytum
Thirty First Century 3001-3100 Thirtyfirstum
Thirty Second Century 3101-3200 Thirtysectum
Thirty Third Century 3201-3300 Thirtythirtum
Thirty Fourth Century 3301-3400 Thirtyfortum
Thirty Fifth Century 3401-3500 Thirtyfiftum
Thirty Sixth Century 3501-3600 Thirtysixtum
Thirty Seventh Century 3601-3700 Thirtysevtum
Thirty Eighth Century 3701-3800 Thirtyeitum
Thirty Ninth Century 3801-3900 Thirtynintum
Fortieth Century 3901-4000 Fortytum
Forty First Century 4001-4100 Fortyfirstum
Forty Second Century 4101-4200 Fortysectum
Forty Third Century 4201-4300 Fortythirtum
Forty Fourth Century 4301-4400 Fortyfortum
Forty Fifth Century 4401-4500 Fortyfiftum
Forty Sixth Century 4501-4600 Fortysixtum
Forty Seventh Century 4601-4700 Fortysevtum
Forty Eighth Century 4701-4800 Fortyeitum
Forty Ninth Century 4801-4900 Fortynintum
Fifteth Century 4901-5000 Fiftytum
Fifty First Century 5001-5100 Fiftyfirstum
Fifty Second Century 5101-5200 Fiftysectum
Fifty Third Century 5201-5300 Fiftythirtum
Fifty Fourth Century 5301-5400 Fiftyfortum
Fifty Fifth Century 5401-5500 Fiftyfiftum
Fifty Sixth Century 5501-5600 Fiftysixtum
Fifty Seventh Century 5601-5700 Fiftysevtum
Fifty Eighth Century 5701-5800 Fiftyeitum
Fifty Ninth Century 5801-5900 Fiftynintum
Sixtieth Century 5901-6000 Sixtytum
Sixty First Century 6001-6100 Sixtyfirstum
Sixty Second Century 6101-6200 Sixtysectum
Sixty Third Century 6201-6300 Sixtythirtum
Sixty Fourth Century 6301-6400 Sixtyfortum
Sixty Fifth Century 6401-6500 Sixtyfiftum
Sixty Sixth Century 6501-6600 Sixtysixtum
Sixty Seventh Century 6601-6700 Sixtysevtum
Sixty Eighth Century 6701-6800 Sixtyeitum
Sixty Ninth Century 6801-6900 Sixtynintum
Seventieth Century 6901-7000 Seventytum
Seventy First Century 7001-7100 Seventyfirstum
Seventy Second Century 7101-7200 Seventysectum
Seventy Third Century 7201-7300 Sevenetythirtum
Seventy Fourth Century 7301-7400 Seventyfortum
Seventy Fifth Century 7401-7500 Seventyfiftum
Seventy Sixth Century 7501-7600 Seventysixtum
Seventy Seventh Century 7601-7700 Seventysevtum
Seventy Eighth Century 7701-7800 Seventyeitum
Seventy Ninth Century 7801-7900 Seventynintum
Eightieth Century 7901-8000 Eightytum
Eighty First Century 8001-8100 Eightyfirstum
Eighy Second Century 8101-8200 Eightysectum
Eighty Third Century 8201-8300 Eightythirtum
Eighty Fourth Century 8301-8400 Eightyfortum
Eighty Fifth Century 8401-8500 Eightyfiftum
Eighty Sixth Century 8501-8600 Eightysixtum
Eighty Seventh Century 8601-8700 Eightysevtum
Eighty Eighth Century 8701-8800 Eightyeitum
Eighty Ninth Century 8801-8900 Eightynintum
Ninetieth Century 8901-9000 Ninetytum
Ninety First Century 9001-9100 Ninetyfirstum
Ninety Secnod Century 9101-9200 Ninetysectum
Ninety Third Century 9201-9300 Ninetythirtum
Ninety Fourth Century 9301-9400 Ninetyfortum
Ninety Fifth Century 9401-9500 Ninetyfiftum
Ninety Sixth Century 9501-9600 Ninetysixtum
Ninety Seventh Century 9601-9700 Ninetysevtum
Ninety Eighth Century 9701-9800 Ninetyeitum
Ninety Ninth Century 9801-9900 Ninetynintum
Hundredth Century  9901-10000 Hundtum

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